A Return to Reality

The corridor was the same. It was Moya, the one he remembered. The Moya he was supposed to be on. After so many so-called unrealized realities John Crichton wasn't even sure he was himself anymore. Not any easy task when you have lived your life, and the life of your twinned self.

He managed, after so many trips, to find his way back to the same spot he was in when Einstein's wormhole sucked him in. The right path put him back just microts after he left. Before he even had a chance to ask Pilot to deploy the docking web, he was already being dragged back onto Moya.

Crichton, what happened to you," D'Argo questioned him when John entered the maintenance bay. "One microt you're floating out there and then you get sucked into the wormhole, and before we have a chance to look for you, you re-appear."

"It's a long story," John said placing his hand on the Luxan's shoulder. "I have a lot to tell you, but first I have to take care of something."

John set his helmet back on the shelf and began to pull down the zipper on his suit. He turned back to D'Argo to see him shake his head and smile. It was funny how tenuous their relationship had been at the beginning, now he could read John so easily. D'Argo knew the reason he didn't have time to explain his absence. It was Aeryn. It was always Aeryn.

"You are like a plague, John Crichton and you have ruined my life," he remembered Aeryn saying. She said it to him, or was it the other one, on Talyn. Did it really matter now that he had lived that life as well?

-------------------

Aeryn was sitting on one of Moya's window bays. Her back was turned to him and she was staring at the spot where he had disappeared. She was stroking her pulse pistol with her right hand. John smiled. She caressed the cold dark metal weapon the way most would a pet.

He walked into the room and stopped half way. John wanted to run to her and take her in his arms, but she would probably find that odd. Especially since he had been giving her the cold shoulder for so long.

What to say? How to break the silence? He thought about it for a while then the lines of a poem from a college English class came to mind. It was by John Dunne, and it seemed to fit them.

"Take me to you," John said as he walked closer to Aeryn. She turned at the sound of his voice, and he could see the wariness in her eyes.

"Imprison me," he continued as he made his way to her side. John reached out his right hand and stroked her raven hair. "For I shall never be free, nor ever chased, except you ravish me."

Turning her head slightly, Aeryn looked into his eyes and he could see the hesitation. John found it odd to see the indecisive look in this woman. In all the time they had known each other she had a quiet assurance about her, and it was odd to see this in her.

"What was that," she finally said. "What does it mean?"

John knelt down beside her and placed his hand on her knee. Now he was looking up at her and stared into her wide dark blue eyes.

"It means I have been an idiot," John said bowing his head. "It means I know everything and I know why you couldn't talk to me, and I am sorry for shutting you out."

"What are you talking about," Aeryn questioned him as she lifted his chin with her index finger. "What do you know?"

John stood and sat down beside her. He stroked her cheek with his left knuckle and rubbed his thumb across her lips.

Aeryn couldn't stop herself. She captured his hand and kissed it, holding it close to her. She didn't want to let him go, for she had longed to again feel the sweet caress of this man.

"I know what you had to go through," John answered her. "I know it all."

"John, what are you talking about?"

Moving closer to her, John swung her around so that her legs dangled from the window ledge so they sat shoulder to shoulder. Side by side now he placed his head on Aeryn's shoulder. He just wanted to be close to her. The Aeryn who hadn't seen the horrors he had seen. Sure, she had lived through some of it, but not all of it.

The realities where Zhaan never brought her back to life, the one where he didn't get the nerve tissue back to her in time, or the worst was when she was exposed to the radiation on Dam Ba Da instead of him. He sat beside her on the bed and watched the life fade from her eyes, until all that was left was an empty shell. It was more then he could bare and it was then he knew, whatever reality he landed in, he would give his life before he lived it without her.

Lifting his head he kissed her shoulder. It was the same kiss he had given her so many cycles ago on the fake earth, when they had first made love. When John first realized that his fascination for this dark and dangerous creature had shifted to something deeper. Love, obsession, was there a difference where Aeryn was concerned?

John continued to trail kisses along her shoulder until he moved to her long shapely neck and then his lips found hers. The kiss was slow and quickly grew more feverish as both drank in the other. It was a kiss of remembrance, a kiss of hope.

Breaking the contact, John whispered Aeryn's name as he rubbed his nose with hers. It was their secret caress, their way of connecting.

John breathed deeply as he stared at her. She stared back at him awaiting some sort of explanation for the change in him. He had told Aeryn to come back when she got her story straight, so John was sure she was puzzled by his sudden turn around.

"I," John began and then stopped. John rubbed his right thumb over his lip.

It made Aeryn smile. How long had it been since she had seen him use that gesture. That was the inquisitive Crichton, who was trying to figure out a way out of another predicament he had gotten himself in. Which made Aeryn wonder what had John so unsure. It had been a while since she had seen him this way.

"Aeryn, I have seen things, been through things," John began. He grabbed her hand and clasped his fingers around hers. "I know you couldn't tell me about where you had been when you returned to Moya, because of the timeline."

John could see the shock on Aeryn's face at his revelation. "How do you know, none of that has happened yet?"

"Yes it has," John answered. "I have lived it and I have changed it, and I know what happened to you on Talyn because I have lived that as well. Lived it in so many different ways, that I never want to think about it again."

"All I want to do is be with you," he continued. "I love you Aeryn Sun, beyond hope. I have always loved you and not even death will change that. Believe me, I should know."

"I don't know what this reality will hold, with half the universe chasing us," John admitted. "All I know is that I don't want to live it without you ever again."

"I can't make promises John, not yet," Aeryn told him. "I know I have hurt you so many times, and I want to be able to find out the truth about the baby before we resolve us."

"Don't let that stop you, Darlin'," John said in his good-ole boy voice. "Let's just say that when we get that baby out of stasis, she will come out with her mama's dark hair and her dad's knack for bad plans."

Realization hit Aeryn and she smiled. A real smile that spread across her face and lit her eyes. She leaned into John and kissed him, and for the first time in her life she felt at home.

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A Return to Reality
by Denise Gideon

Like this story? Be sure to check out Denise's other fic, The Just Be Glad Game

 
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